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Testing the Design and Deployment in a Lab Environment

Updated: May 3, 2010

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Lab testing is the first evaluation of the Active Directory design. During lab testing, you confirm the assumptions made by the design architects.

As the first draft of the Active Directory design approaches completion, begin testing specific design assumptions in the deployment process in a lab environment. By testing the deployment process in your lab, you can discover potential design problems that affect the deployment process and provide feedback to the design team to correct problems before the deployment.

Ensure that the test lab environment is isolated from the rest of your organization's production network and represents, on a small scale, the hardware and operating system configuration of the computers in your organization. Include enough domain controllers in the lab environment to support a representative sample of your site design, including intrasite and intersite replication partners, site links, and realistic replication intervals.

Include user and group accounts and other resources that are exclusively designated for testing. Ensure that your test environment provides access to test configurations of external services, such as mainframe or Internet access, as required. Retain the lab permanently to test new procedures and train the deployment team.

The deployment team can use the lab environment to learn the specifics of your deployment process and to gain familiarity with the deployment and migration tools that are used during the Active Directory deployment.

Typically, the design assumption tests and the deployment process tests are performed by different teams. Table 1.4 lists the lab tests and the team members who perform the tests in the lab.

Table 1.4   Lab Tests and Corresponding Team Members


Test Process Lab Tests Team Members

Test design assumptions

Analyze Active Directory replication and site topology.

Design team, site topology owner, and deployment team.

Test application and desktop compatibility.

Design team.

Test deployment process

Test disaster recovery.

Forest owner and deployment team.

Test account and resource migration.

Forest owner and deployment team.

Evaluate delegation, administration, and management.

Forest owner.

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